Tressel Grilled At Press Luncheon

Ohio State's offense is ranked last in the Big Ten and most everyone is puzzled as to why such a talented offense could struggle so much. At his weekly press luncheon, head coach Jim Tressel answered several questions about his offense, including the coaching staff, schemes and personnel.

Ohio State's ineffective offense was taken to task on Tuesday at Jim Tressel's weekly media luncheon.

The Buckeyes are ranked 11th in the Big Ten and 72nd in the country in total offense (354 yards per game) and reporters prodded for reasons why.

Tressel on his role with the offense, as well as offensive coordinator Jim Bollman's role:

"What we do offensively I think is probably similar to what we do defensively and that's, you know, we have X number of people in the staff room and people work with positions individually. Staffs work collectively, For instance, Joe Daniels and Darrell Hazell work very well together on how do people attack us secondary-wise. Jim Bollman, John Peterson, and Dick Tressel work hard on how are we going to protect when it comes to the run game, everyone's involved, because the quarterback has to decide what run we need to get out of if we've made a poor selection from the sideline, and the linemen have to handle the fronts. And really a lot of our decisions on the line of scrimmage are made at the center position. Most of our decisions are made from a what are we going to attack with, from the week's preparation. And then you say, ‘OK, as we get into the game, what are they doing differently? What are they showing us that we haven't seen?' Take Penn State, for instance, or, really, Iowa too, in the last two weeks, we've basically gotten what we expected. We've got the fronts and the coverages and got blitzed when we thought we'd get blitzed, so you go in and design what you think is the best thing against those situations and then, you know, you have your sheets made such that according to what's going on in the game down distance, field position, you know, all the rest, as to what needs to be called and all of us are on the phone together, you know, and the guys that have the best vantage point are the guys that get to sit there and kind of look from above and then the guys that are responsible for the communication are the ones from down below, whether it's signal communication, verbal communication, whatever it happens to be and that's the way you attack it."

Tressel on if Bollman is taking too much heat:

Is Jim Bollman taking too much heat? I think that goes with the territory. You know, when you don't win the game, the head coach gets the heat and that's part of the deal. The quarterback gets the heat. The offensive coordinator gets the heat. And someone goes out and scores 42 points against us, Jim Heacock and Luke Fickell are going to take the heat. So is it too much? You know, I suppose it would depend upon the the tenor and the sanity of the heat, you know. I mean, questioning whether a guy could be better, yeah, I think that's appropriate. Using, you know, a little bit stronger words and out of control emotion, I'm not sure is appropriate, but everyone has their own beliefs."

Tressel on whether he would consider taking a step back in terms of his role with the offense: (Bascially, would he consider hiring an offensive coordinator from the outside if things don't improve.)

"I think that's a discussion you have at times. But, you know, I'm not sure that that would interest me. We'll see, but I like being involved."

Tressel on if he has a "short answer" for OSU's offensive woes this season:

"I don't believe. If there were, I hope I could, along with the rest of the coaches, see what that short answer is and solve that particular answer. I think offensive football, especially when you're playing against good defensive teams, inevitably, that ability to have 11 guys getting things done perfectly is more difficult. … You know, our goal is to score 24 points or more. And whenever we talk about goals, we talk about against the best competition. You know, not -- you know, piling all the statistics from, you know, 20 years together or whatever, but against the best competition, you know, we've found that if we can score 24 points and our defense can reach their goal is let 14 points or less, we have a good chance to win. And ultimately, that's our goal. Our goal isn't to be, I guess, knighted as a prolific. I don't know that we've ever sought that, we just want to do our part to help the team win."

Tressel on if he's contemplating a change at quarterback for the Michigan State game:

"No. There's a short answer."

Tressel on why just 24 points is the goal for the offense. Shouldn't it want to score more?

"Twenty-four or more. Not 24. I'm sorry if I misled you. We enjoyed scoring 31 in our first Big Ten game and wish it would have been 38, that would have been wonderful, but we met our goal. I think if you look in the last -- I know our people study this, but I think in the last 15 years at Ohio State, if you score 24 points or more, you win like 96 percent of your games. And I know that's not our goal, our goal is to win 100 percent of them, but I think it's realistic if you say 24 or more."

Tressel on what areas quarterback Troy Smith needs to improve in:

"I think consistency. And that's the most difficult thing when you play that position, because I sit in my office or I sit with the offensive staff or with Darrell Hazell and Joe and you watch films and click it back and back and back and, gosh, he should have done this. And that picture was taken from the top of Ohio Stadium or Beaver Stadium and I got to play it back four times and in 3.1 seconds, you know, making that decision and so forth, ‘We've got to get better at that.' And I think -- I think that's a compliment, what you said, was that he's self-critical, I think that's a compliment to him, because he wants to be, you know, what this team needs him to be, and he really believes that there will be some days where we are prolific or, whatever, and then there are other days where we do just what we have to do to win and feel good about that. And there's going to be days where, you know what, we didn't do our part, and I know that's the way we as coaches feel, you know what, we didn't do our part. I know that's the way Troy feels. I know as you ask A.J. Hawk, he'll tell you, you know what, I didn't tackle as well as I needed to do for us to win that game and if you have those kind of people, have you a chance."

Tressel on if Smith is still maturing as a quarterback since he's started just eight games at OSU:

"Yeah, without a doubt. I think if you analyze his performance, and he probably graded a touch less than maybe he has recently, I think you'd have to start making the list of the factors, you know, one of them might be Penn State. One of them might be maybe what we didn't design properly for them, wasn't the right thing, or maybe we didn't rep something enough, or maybe he allowed himself to be distracted and look at something else or maybe the protection or … you know, you can usually list a healthy list of things when things don't go right and then you go to work on them and that's what this is about."

Tressel on if Ted Ginn is playing tentatively:

"I think Ted is the guy who believes he can find a way to hit the home run and he did. He hit the home run many times. He didn't Saturday. But I think sometimes that that's the risk you take a little bit, you know, to hit home runs is cut back and, you know, that type of thing. So, I don't know if I call that hesitancy. For him, it's almost like he's trying to make a big play. To me, hesitancy is you go up and you stop. You know, he doesn't stop. Now, he tries to sidestep and all that and I think we've all seen that work. I think there's a little evidence that -- and we've seen it not work. But that's a little bit the result of how good was the coverage."

Tressel on if OSU's offense was too predictable on first down against Penn State (too many rushing attempts):

"Maybe. You know, we constantly keep an eye on where we are. The last thing I can remember, I want to say we were 8-4 run/pass the last time I can remember asking that question throughout the course of a game, but I can't swear to that. You know, if we would have gained seven on that first down run, you know, perhaps like we did two weeks ago. The thing that I like to evaluate is whether we throw six times on first and run nine times, which of those six throws got what we needed and which of those nine runs, and then evaluate what you're doing and -- and you try to do that in the course of the game. You have people keeping track of those statistics and that type of thing. But, you know, I hope there hasn't been an inference that we called exactly what should have been called and people were hesitant or people were indecisive, because that's not the case."

Tressel on whether some of the breakdowns on offense could be attributed to lack of depth (players that stood out in the spring like Marcel Frost, Erik Haw, Albert Dukes, not getting much playing time now … as well as O-line depth):

"Well, of course in the spring you're going to see depth because we're playing each other, so everybody plays. I think our depth of receiver, you brought up Albert Dukes. I think our depth of receivers with Santonio and Teddy and Anthony Gonzalez and Roy Hall, I think those four guys have been very solid. Offensive line wise, sure we would love to have -- you know, I was looking at last year's films, Steve Rehring started the Michigan State game. Jimmy Cordle ended the spring, you know, as one of our top eight linemen. Kirk Barton may be one of our best three linemen type of thing, but, you know, we can't dwell on that. You know, we made two adjustments as we talked about after the game. When Kirk went out, we made the adjustment to move Robbie over to tackle and put John Conroy in at guard and the other adjustment was boon at tackle and Robbie back at guard, which is probably the way we'll start but that's what -- going across the land, you know, someone's missing their left tackle, someone's missing their strong safety, someone's missing this or that and, you know, you've gotta go. But as far as the guys playing in the spring, I don't know that I … I think that's a little strong to say that our depth has betrayed us. I don't know that I'd go there personally."

Tressel on Barton's status for the MSU game:


Tressel on Alex Boone, who will likely start the MSU game at right tackle:

"I think Alex Boone is going to be very good. Very natural. He's picked up things well. It'll be a challenge for him going against this group because Michigan State's defensive ends are -- one of them's 300 pounds and, you know, the other one who's typically to the split end side, you know, isn't quite 300 pounds but is a -- is a heck of an athlete. So it'll be a great challenge for him, but I think Alex Boone has really come along and he's met our expectations."

Tressel on where Mike D'Andrea will factor in once he returns from injury:

"He'll be back at MIKE to start with and I think what we've got to make a decision on is just how quickly will Marcus Freeman be back. And the other thing I think Mike can do is he can add to those edge guys when you're in your nickel stuff, too, like we've played them in that viper and edge rush guys and that type of thing. So I'm excited for him, you know, to be out there and I think he's excited to be out and ready to go and we were almost took him with us to Penn State but he wasn't quite ready, and, you know, I'd like to see him slowly get in and be able to help us out."

Tressel on OSU's final offensive play of the game against PSU when Ryan Hamby was beaten off the edge, Smith was sacked and fumbled away the ball:

"We got beat. We got beat. We had run that protection probably four times, you know, maybe five in the game, and, you know, didn't get beat and it held up fine. And that time it didn't hold up and we had a chance on that play. But, again, that's the fine line between winning those tough ones and not."

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